“Is this my blanket?” my daughter asks as she curiously eyes a large colorfully-wrapped box that has the words CELEBRATE plastered all over it. Sitting in a hotel room, my family watches expectantly as she opens up her graduation present. There’s a moment of anticlimactic silence as she removes the lid of the box. Each of us, even my daughter, knows what’s inside.
Several years ago, I first struggled with the problem of what to give to my children when they graduated from college. Giving them money, jewelry, or big, fancy gifts were okay, but I longed to give them something that they wouldn’t forget – something, that perhaps, could be a symbol of love. That’s when I thought about making each of them a blanket.
In concept this was a good idea, but in reality, not so great. Although I am a creative person and I attempt to do many things – just who was I kidding when I thought I could crochet? As I bought the pattern and yarn for my oldest son’s blanket, I thought back to the baby hat that I’d once crocheted. It turned out almost perfect, except for one minor detail – the size was way off. The cute, crocheted hat turned out to be too large for any infant’s head, including an alien’s!
With crochet hook in hand and skeins of yarn all about, I determinedly began the first blanket. I envisioned myself to be like my grandmother, a woman who could crochet furiously while watching television. The directions to the Mile-A-Minute blanket seemed easy enough and after crocheting all the strips, I carefully lined them up on the floor side-by-side. Noticing that each strip was a different length, I was crestfallen. How in the world was I going to join these strips together when some were inches shorter than others? Figuring I had two choices – either I alternate the long and short strips or I configure them from shortest to longest – I frantically worked to salvage the project. Although it’s been years since I made it and I cannot remember exactly how I put it together, I do remember the look on my oldest son’s face as he graciously accepted his trapezoidal-shaped blanket. Sometimes there are disadvantages to being first-born!
Like parenting, the second time around was easier. Being wiser, I vowed not to repeat my mistakes and made every effort to avoid the pitfalls of crocheting. Again, I lovingly crocheted a Mile-A-Minute blanket for my second son and was most pleased when his blanket turned out “almost” rectangular. Diligence and experience had paid off. When I asked him a few weeks ago what I gave him for his graduation, he immediately replied “A blanket!” Good answer! There are some advantages to being the second child!
Now, as I watch my daughter take her blanket out of the box, I notice that she’s studying the straight rows of crochet stitches and the nice, even border. It’s evident that I did not make her blanket. I explain that her blanket was made by my grandmother and was given to me on my twenty-first birthday. That my daughter is twenty-one-years-old and that she’s graduating from college, the pretty, pink and white blanket seemed destined to be hers. Sometimes the third child is just lucky!
No matter the story behind each blanket, the accompanying note always included this sentiment: You are the lucky recipient of a “Crocheted Masterpiece.” At this point in your life there’s not much more Dad and I can give to you other than our continued, unconditional love. Think of our love as being wrapped up in this blanket. Take it with you wherever you go in life and may you always feel the warmth of our love whenever you wrap yourself in it.